This summer, one of the most popular posts I saw on Facebook looked like a bright idea. It showed kids playing with sparklers in what appeared to be a safer way. By poking the ends of the sticks through a small hole in the bottom of a plastic cup, kids can use the cup as a shield for their hand. This seems like a great way to keep from getting burned with flying sparks while still enjoying the beauty of a sparkler, but is it safe?
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the answer to that question would be no.
The CPSC has been working for the past few years to let parents know that sparklers can cause severe burns, or even death. They burn at up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature even hotter than a blowtorch. Would you allow your small child to play with a blowtorch? How about if you cover their hand first with a plastic cup?
In reality, the plastic cup covering a child's hand, as suggested in the Facebook post, could be even more dangerous than letting them hold the sparkler by itself. That's because flying sparks could cause your child to drop the sparkler and avoid a very serious burn, whereas the cup could shield the hand just long enough for the sparks to ignite the plastic, melting it onto your child's skin.
Kids can safely enjoy sparklers, though. Help your children stick the end of their sparkler in the ground or in a pot of soil, then light them and stand back. The lights will be just as beautiful and exciting, but your kids will be safe from catching their clothes on fire or burning their flesh, which will give everyone a happier 4th of July.